Historic Preservation

University of Georgia Historic Preservation Master Plan


In 2018 the University of Georgia completed a Historic Preservation Master Plan that is an innovative and powerful tool that integrates historic preservation and archaeology into the early facilities planning stages.  The Board of Regents (BOR) of the University System of Georgia (USG) is the largest holder of historic resources among state entities, and the University of Georgia is the largest holder among USG units with more than 730 historic buildings and 55 cultural landscapes across 11 Georgia counties.  The development of the new plan took over two years and required blending of several cultural resource management models from a range of sources to develop one that is appropriate for a land and sea grant institution and the oldest public higher education institution in America.

President Jere W. Morehead charged a steering group which was chaired, at that time, by College of Environment and Design Dean Dan Nadenicek. The Office of University Architects for Facilities Planning, in particular, Director of Historic Preservation Scott Messer, provided support to the steering committee and managed the overall development of the plan.

The process started with a student driven historic resource inventory with oversight from College of Environment and Design (CED) faculty and consultant teams. Nine graduate assistantships and a number of internships were established in the Masters of Historic Preservation Program to create the inventory. With help from the FindIT Program, in CED’s Center for Community Design and Preservation, experiential learning opportunities were established.  Those students traveled across the state to document each historic building and cultural landscape. This information was studied and enhanced by the consultant team led by Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc. serving as external consultant.  The new electronic database inventory includes a history, context, significance, condition and integrity of each historic building.

After consultants toured facilities across the state, two full days of workshops were held in Athens with a variety of stakeholders including Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation, Georgia’s State Historic Preservation Office, and BOR staff. Those workshops provided essential feedback for the consultants as they worked on establishing guiding principles.  The new Historic Preservation Master Plan incorporates many aspects of Integrated Cultural Resource Management Plans often used when numerous cultural resources are located across a large geographic areas such as military bases.  Now that the inventory is in place, the university can follow a clear process even for the maintenance and upkeep of historic structures.  The master planning resulted in the development of a transparent process for all UGA facility planning that includes fourteen Standard Operating Procedures intended to be used in combination with an Actions and Assessment matrix. One of the major strengths of the plan is that it provides a defensible and replicable process and a clearly articulated set of standard operating procedures,” said Nadenicek. The University of Georgia Historic Plan does not sit on shelf – it is an interactive plan that informs facility decisions every day across the state.

Please contact Scott Messer, Director of Historic Preservation with any questions:

Scott Messer